The difference between seasonal allergies and COVID-19Your nose is running like a tap and your nostrils are completely congested. Spring is just around the corner, or maybe the leaves are just starting to change color. Is it seasonal allergies or could you be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Since some people with COVID-19 only have mild symptoms, it can be hard to know. Read on to find out how to tell them apart.
SEASONAL ALLERGIES OR COVID-19?
It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of seasonal allergies and those of COVID-19, as they share some similarities. A good way to determine whether or not your symptoms may be related to COVID-19 is to compare your current symptoms with those you usually have during allergy season. If you notice a difference, this might be a clue that something else is at play.
WHAT CAUSES SEASONAL ALLERGIES AND COVID-19?
For seasonal allergies like hay fever, the symptoms are the result of an overreaction by the body to miniscule substances (called “allergens”) found in the air you breathe, e.g., ragweed pollen. Typical allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, nose, or throat; sneezing; and a runny or stuffy nose.
COVID-19 is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms can vary widely from one person to another, and from one variant to the next. When symptoms are mild, it can be easy to mistake them for those caused by seasonal allergies.
CAREFUL WITH YOUR HANDS
Since allergy symptoms may include itchy eyes, it can be tempting to relieve the itchiness by touching your face and eyes. However, this can increase your risk of contracting viral infections, including COVID-19.
Keep up with the habit of washing your hands regularly, to minimize your risk of contamination. Some medications can help relieve your allergy symptoms and avoid the urge to touch your face. Ask your pharmacist about them.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALLERGENS
There are various kinds of allergens that can cause allergic symptoms. Allergens that are only present at a specific time of the year and whose symptoms appear at the same time every year are known as “seasonal allergens.” For example, in the spring, for people who are allergic to tree pollen or in the fall for those with a ragweed allergy.
Other allergens are known as “perennial allergens” as they are present year-round in the environment, and symptoms can occur 12 months a year. Dust mites are one example of an allergen that can cause allergy symptoms throughout the year.